In early January, SAEF scientists and support personnel will travel to Dronning Maud Land to complete fieldwork aimed at understanding the evolution and function of the landscape and its biodiversity.
The team will collect springtail samples for research using genomics and compare these patterns to rock dating to understand how the landscape has evolved in Dronning Maud Land given the glacial evolution in the region. They will also collect moss strands, which similar to tree rings, can be dated to provide complimentary short-term dating and insights into the region’s past environment. These understandings of the past will help to project and prepare policy responses for the future.
The collection of soil samples and the results of in-field gas experiments will provide insights into the extent to which microbial communities in the ice-free areas in Antarctica are underpinned by a hydrogen economy, providing insights into the most basic requirements for life on Earth. They will also test an AI-powered remote monitoring system aimed at providing scientists with a constant stream of data from the continent.